10mm Auto ballistic test, updated.

10mm Auto-2

Some time back I tested three bullets weights from Hornady for the 10mm Auto. You can read about that here. With the variety of ammunition for this caliber, I thought it would be a good idea to try out some different rounds.

I secured some more test ammunition and headed back to the range with my Glock 20, chronograph, and ballistic gel to get more data on this round.

10mm Auto-1

Using the exact same testing protocol, we have been using at our previous ballistic testing I was able to get reliable data that is comparable to the other 10mm test.

10mm Auto-5

10mm Auto-6

You may notice a Lonewolf barrel in this photograph. I swapped that barrel when shooting the lead bullet as recommended when shooting lead out of a polygonal barrel. You can read about the Lonewolf barrel test here.

As I have said ballistic gel is not the end all be all say in how a bullet performs but it gives you a good idea on how a bullet acts in a medium that is very similar to human tissue. It also allows you to have a consistent baseline when testing different rounds so you are comparing apples to apples, so to speak.

There is no need for me to rehash everything talked about in the first test if you are curious just follow the link at the top of the page. There is some excellent information as well as the history of the 10mm Auto.



So, here is the updated chart, please click on the chart for a larger version.

10mm Auto-3


The bullets closest to the gel were the ones shot through the cloth.

The first row is the Georgia Arms loaded 155gr Speer Gold Dot.

The second row is the Georgis Arms loaded 180gr Speer gold dots

The third row is the Federal 180gr JHP

The fourth row is the Federal 180gr Hydra Shok

The fifth row is the PMC 180gr JHP

The bottom photo is the Hornady Critical Duty

From left to right, DoubleTap 200gr hard cast, 230gr Equalizer, 180gr Controlled Expansion, 125gr TAC-XP HP. Top row was three layers; bottom row was bare gel.

The Prvi Partizan (PPU) and my reload, as you see by the chart were unrecovered. The wound channel created by the PPU was very similar to one made by a full metal jacket which, in conjunction with complete penetration leads me to believe there was little to no expansion. I expected my reload not to expand as it is a truncated cone solid lead alloy bullet, designed to penetrate. The wound channel from my reload was also similar to one created by a full metal jacket. My reload was a 175gr truncated cone with 8.6gr of IMR 800X. That is a maximum charge for that bullet and propellant and was worked up to using correct reloading protocols. When reloading always start at the initial load and work up from there watching for signs of excessive pressure. Safety first.    You can read the review of that bullet and bullet mold here.

Though almost all rounds performed well, the DoubleTap, Speer Gold Dot, and Hornady bullets seemed to do the best while the Federal Hydra Shok and PMC were at the bottom. The PPU was unacceptable.


10mm Auto-4




DoubleTap Ammunition 





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22 Responses to 10mm Auto ballistic test, updated.

  1. Jerry March 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Outstanding articles! Please do more.

  2. Marco February 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm #

    You list the DoubleTap 200 hardcast as having 100% weight retention, yet your photo of the recovered bullet shows it lost a huge chunk of material…can you clarify?

    • Hunter Elliott February 9, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

      Yes sir,
      The lead bullet did not break apart but the edge deformed a bit.

    • Scott McConnell May 27, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

      Hello Hunter and the Rangehot crew! Truly enjoy your videos and articles and bought a Colt Delta Elite 10mm based on your reviews and the two articles here about it. Any thoughts on the Fennix Ammo and some of the Defender rounds Fein Underwood? Thanks again and working on a DW Specialist in 10mm

      • Hunter Elliott June 21, 2020 at 7:49 pm #

        Thank you very much Marco, I truly appreciate your kind words. I am sorry but I don’t know much about Fennix Ammo. I do favor Defender and DoubleTap ammo for range and self-defense use.

  3. Bob Clevenger March 6, 2018 at 5:29 am #

    Any particular reason you have not tested the Nosler 135 gr. JHP either as loaded by Underwood or a reload at nearly 1600 fps?

    • Hunter Elliott March 9, 2018 at 12:19 am #

      Bob, I go with what I have available or with what manufactures send me.

      • Bob Clevenger March 9, 2018 at 12:31 am #

        Good reason. I’d sure like to see more tests of the 125 gr. hot loads.

        • Hunter Elliott March 9, 2018 at 2:38 am #

          I will keep my eye out if I ran across some, but it gets real expensive real quick trying to cover everything that is available. Fortunately, several manufacturers will donate test ammo and that helps a great deal.

          • Bob Clevenger March 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm #

            Undesrtood. BTW, that should have said 135 gr. not 125 gr.

          • Hunter Elliott March 9, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

            No problem. DoubleTap makes a 135gr that I just got in, so that was what I was thinking you were talking about.

          • Bob Clevenger March 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

            Excellent! I shall anticipate your review of it with bated breath.

  4. Bill Case June 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm #

    Underwood is my choice for factory full power factory 10mm ammo … They deliver the velocities that they advertise ..

  5. Noel email August 5, 2018 at 11:29 am #

    Your hard work and dedication are appreciated. Where can a donation be sent, and or funding for a specific ammo test?

  6. Biggfoot44 August 15, 2019 at 7:26 am #

    To make one small observation about the interpretation; The results for the Hydrashok should be looked at in perspective .

    It is a Midrange aka Mild load on purpose . It has energy and recoil level akin to a warm .40s&w or std vel .45acp . In context of ” mere ” .40 or .45 performance , the Hydrashok is at least comparable , and more than reasonably adaquate for defense . For some users, at least some of the time , a gentle load still comparable to normal pistols is a good thing .


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